A test server for an MMORPG is used to, you know, test stuff. There’s a lot to be found there that won’t be found in the live game, so any time something is discovered that looks unusual, it should be taken with a hefty grain of salt. Sure, it might be something new and strange, or it might be a placeholder or simply an error.

With all that in mind, some players on The Lord of the Rings Online‘s test server have noticed something unusual and unannounced. As a reader of Massively Opinionated noticed on the forums, there’s evidence of what appears to be a new class in a pull-down menu. “Brawler” sits in a list along with the game’s existing 10 classes and, if verified, it would be the game’s first new class since the Beorning was added in 2014.

As the conversation on the forums goes, however, this might not be indicative of anything. There’s a similar pull-down menu for monster classes that lists “Crusher,” which is technically the session play name for when a Monster Player takes a troll into the PvP zone of the Ettenmoors. There’s a similar class for the Free Peoples, the Ranger … but if that’s what “Brawler” refers to, why not call it Ranger? Or could this be related to some other upcoming session play character?

Color me skeptical as to the notion that this refers to an actual new class coming to LotRO — probably in the Gundabad expansion in 2021, if ever. “Brawler” would seem to indicate a punchy-fisty, martial arts-y type of character, which, while not uncommon in MMORPGs, isn’t the sort of thing that’s really present anywhere in Lord of the Rings lore. I’d lean more toward it being a temporary, session-play character, or if it is a new character, a placeholder name until Standing Stone Games comes up with something better.

UPDATE, Sept. 28: Community Manager Cordovan has essentially confirmed that the Brawler represents something new coming to LotRO. “Obviously you’ve all seen something we weren’t quite ready to talk about,” he said on the forums, “but we’ll have more information in the near future.” As we expected, he confirmed that the brawler wouldn’t be coming in War of the Three Peaks, so you can probably pencil it in for the Gundabad expansion in 2021.

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